Summary Notes 5
Summary Notes, March 1, 1996
Cyberwatch: Media Views Focus Group
MOVIE REVIEW: THEY LIVE
A homeless man living in a shanty town discovers some shady
goings on in his "neighborhood"; he stumbles by accident on a secret operation
that produces sunglasses that allow humans to see the world as it actually is
(which, in this case means black and white with no graphic design). He finds our
we are all being manipulated by a truly hideous alien race which rewards humans
who comply with yuppiedom and forces the rest of us to sleepwalk through our days
as obedient slave labor. Starring big-time wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper, the film
also includes an enormously long fight sequence.
Media Views group review
While I think we were all agreed on the fact that this wasn't the most subtle film
ever made, there were some interesting little nuggets to be teased out of this
John Carpenter effort. Some things that came up during our discussion:
- In light of our recent discussion about the cable television model (lots of
channels in, few back channels out) it was interesting to note that the human race
was kept under controls by messages put out over "Cable 54".
- The aliens didn't have to be aliens at all. The delivery was pretty heavy
handed, but the message was clear that the acts of the aliens that seem so
horrible and oppressive are pretty much the status quo for our treatment of each
- The huge and widening gap between the rich and poor was notable.
- The producers of the the subliminal messages create the need and therefore the
subculture that goes along with it. This sounds familiar.
- When the rebels broke through the Cable 54 signal, the viewers became hostile
and agitated and eventually experienced physical discomfort. As Susn put it, "The
truth literally hurts".
- If people are afraid enough they will hand themselves over to whomever will
take care of their basic needs.
- Why did the aliens do this? Bescause they could. Becuase they couild treat
the world as disposable, exhausting one planet after another.
- This really could have been a better movie than it was. They laid it on a bit
thick, but the scenes where the glasses were on and all our gaudy advertising was
revealed as stark, black and white orders to "reproduce", "Consume", "Obey", and
"Sleep" (money actually read "This is your God") were actually really unnerving.